With Brexit just weeks away, Brits who are planning to drive abroad have been warned to check they are compliant with the EU rules of the road. From buying an international driving permit and a green card, to checking their insurance, British drivers will now need to understand upcoming changes that will affect them.
Driving experts from car and van hire comparison site StressFreeCarRental.com have revealed what to look out for when driving in continental Europe in 2021, as life for British motorists will be very different. The UK officially left the EU on 31st January 2020 but is currently in a Brexit transition period. This means that most arrangements, including rules on driving, stay unchanged until the deadline on 31st December 2020. A deal is still being negotiated but whatever its outcome, there will be some changes for drivers heading for the continent from the new year.
A spokesperson for StressFreeCarRental.com said: “With a deal still being negotiated, there is a lot up in the air with Brexit and what changes we may, or may not have to adhere to in 2021. If Brits are planning to drive around Europe for work or holidays next year, then they need to be prepared, as Brexit is likely to affect their plans. But, as the saying goes ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, so we have listed the bare minimum considerations to make to ensure that with a deal or no deal, you can drive abroad next year.”
Here is StressFreeCarRental’s list of key questions and answers for UK drivers hoping to drive to and within the European Union after the 31st December 2020.
Do I need an International Driving Permit?
From 1st January 2021, Brits might need what is called an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in some European countries. The UK Government is currently involved with negotiations with the EU about this and has promised more details later this month. In the meantime, if Brits have overseas travel booked, then we’d recommend buying an IDP from Post Offices for £5.50.
Will my current license be accepted?
EU and EEA licences will continue to be accepted in the UK for visitors and residents. The EEA is the European Economic Area, which is the EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland
Do I need a green card when driving abroad?
British driver’s UK insurance is still valid for visiting the EEA during the transition period. But after this period, Brits may also need a green card. This is a document from your insurer to prove your car is covered if you are driving in Europe. The government’s official advice is: “You should plan to carry one for the vehicle you’re driving in the EU and EEA, including in Ireland, from 1 January 2021.” Please note that separate green cards are needed for trailers and caravans.
Do you need extra car and motor insurance?
Under the European Union 2009 motor insurance directive, any vehicle legally insured in one EU country can be driven between other European nations on the same policy. So Brits will still be insured under their current providers, but if Brit’s drive in Europe without a Green Card, then they might face a fine or get their vehicle seized.
What about a GB sticker on vehicles?
The UK government is recommending that Brits have a GB sticker on the car, even if there’s already a GB symbol on the number plate.
Anything else I need to know?
British drivers need to remember to carry their V5C logbook with them if they own the car. If it is a hire car, then Brits will need to get a VE103 form to show they have permission to take it out of the UK.